Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Fresh local government reform draft needed; NRC

Fresh local government reform draft needed; NRC


The Northland Regional Council has told the Local Government Commission it can’t support its draft proposal for a major revamp of local government in the region in its current form – and has asked it to do more work, then issue a fresh draft.

Chairman Bill Shepherd says that’s the crux of the formal submission the regional council had yesterday (subs: Tuesday, 18 February) filed with the commission ahead of Friday’s looming (21 February) deadline for comment on the commission’s ‘Draft Proposal for Reorganisation of Local Government in Northland’.

The commission (LGC) ended months of speculation in November last year when it announced its preferred local government model for Northland; a single unitary body supported by community boards which would come into existence late next year.

Councillor Shepherd says the regional council (NRC) does not want to lose the opportunity to build the best possible local government model for Northland, but says if any reform is to occur “it’s far more important to get any reorganisation done right; rather than to get it done fast”.

He says a very tight time-frame set down for the process by the LGC has meant Northlanders haven’t had a lot of time to understand and consider some of the very important implications of any change. The council also feels the commission needs to provide much more information across a range of areas.

Councillor Shepherd says collectively the NRC does agree with the commission that a single Northland-wide voice would be a significant advantage when advocating to central government and other parties and should deliver better plans and more efficient services.

“But of greater concern to us at this point, and at the heart of our opposition to the LGC’s current recommendation, is the commission’s heavy reliance on ‘community boards’. We think much stronger ‘local boards’ with their own powers and budgets are needed and given the law is changing to allow for them in Northland, we think the commission should wait until that change then issue a fresh draft reorganisation proposal.”

In a similar vein, the council felt any final proposal by the LGC should also wait until the law could be changed to allow a wider range of options for Māori representation/decision-making.

He says the council’s full submission covers many areas including its position on debt, claimed costs savings, service delivery, ward boundaries and where any new council should be based and is available on its website via www.nrc.govt.nz/LGreform

Councillors and staff had spent a great deal of time and effort in recent months investigating the pros and cons of the draft proposal and he and his fellow councillors were very grateful to the many Northlanders who had met with them – and shared their own views – on it.

“Since the LGC issued its draft proposal we’ve held public meetings in Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Omapere and Russell in the Far North and Kaiwaka in Kaipara late last year. More recently (after the holiday break) we’ve had further meetings in Ruakaka, Tutukaka, Parua Bay and Whangarei. We’ve also taken up invitations to meet with business groups in Kerikeri and Whangarei, with Kaipara ratepayer groups in Dargaville and with the Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP) in Kaitaia. We also recently took part in a panel on reform at Waitangi marae.”

Councillor Shepherd says local democracy is important “and for it to work it needs local communities to engage”.

“We’re delighted that people have taken the time to engage with us and they have helped us shape our views and our formal submission.”

Meanwhile, he says as with the three district councils in Northland, the regional council is continuing to encourage people to make their own submissions to the LGC ahead of its Friday deadline (subs: 21 Feb).

“With that deadline, the ball will be very much back in the Local Government Commission’s court in terms of the next steps in the process and we’ll be keeping a close watch on – and continuing to advocate on the community’s behalf – as the process does continue.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Team Behind Trump's Throne

Forget the Putin factor. Daily, the team of charlatans, bigots and stunningly ignorant crackpots that Trump is appointing to head key federal agencies is just as alarming. These are positions with vast power and budgetary discretion over policies that stand to affect tens of millions of vulnerable Americans. Sad! More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English, Abroad

If David Cameron was the closest thing John Key had to a political mentor, their successors also share a whole lot in common. Theresa May and Bill English were both propelled into the top jobs as the result of unexpected resignations, and without much in the way of credible competition from their colleagues... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Labour Bill To Override Safety Act For Mine Entry

“Bill English has been hiding behind the legal excuse that any attempt to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies might place the mine’s owner, Solid Energy Limited, and its directors in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future? More>>

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Hospitals: Resident Doctors Set To Strike Again

Despite discussions between the DHBs and NZRDA over safer hours for resident doctors progressing during the last week, the strike planned for next week appears set to proceed. More>>

ALSO:

Not So Super Fund: More Burning Ethical Questions For Steven Joyce

Greens: Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the New Zealand Superfund has $77 million invested in 47 coal companies that the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund – the largest sovereign fund in the world – has blacklisted. More>>

Activism: Greenpeace Intercepts World’s Biggest Seismic Oil Ship

Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa... Greenpeace radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why Tax Cuts In 2017 Would Be A (Proven) Bad Idea

Ever since the world fell prey to the mullahs of the free market in the 1980s, no amount of real world evidence has managed dispel one key tenet of their economic faith. Namely, the idea that if you cut income taxes and taxes on small business, a wave of individual enterprise and entrepreneurial energy will thus be unleashed, profits will rise and – hey bingo! – the tax cuts will soon be paying for themselves ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news